When starting out as an aspiring entrepreneur there are a number of factors that need to be considered. However what happens before the startup stage could be described as the most important (after you have created your idea) as this is where all your planning and preparation takes place. Below I am going to discuss some startup tips that need to be considered before you launch your product or service. All of these tips can be included within a business plan:
1. Your business plan should include everything you need to consider both when you launch and how you intend your business to progress. In order to do this you need to know about your finances. At this stage it is often advisable to underestimate sales and overestimate expenditures. One reason many businesses fail within the first 12 months is due to a lack of cashflow.
2. As part of your business plan you also need to examine your competition. What are their strengths and weaknesses and what opportunities exist for you. Additionally you need to examine what opportunities are available. One tool in which you can do this is a SWOT analysis.
3. Your business plan also needs to outline what you hope to achieve and how you will do this. Goal setting is one way in which you can achieve this. For each aim you can set a goal which will outline step by step how you intend to achieve this aim. To make aims more achievable try breaking them down into smaller goals or objectives. Often an aim will have several objectives meaning you can make goals much more realistic and quicker to achieve.
4. Although it may not be essential if you are going to make full use of your business plan I would strongly suggest that it needs to be practical. If it is practical it will help to guide you through your first 12 months of business. You will be able to consult it if and when certain scenarios arise. For example if you have highlighted potential threats through the use of your SWOT analysis these threats along with possible strategies to overcome them need to be in your plan. This will mean you will be better prepared and should enable you to run your business more smoothly. Likewise if you identify potential opportunities strategies to help you make the most of these opportunities should be included within a comprehensive business plan.
5. Personalise your plan. Unless you are completing it for a Masters or MBA or need investors I would suggest you personalise your business plan as much as possible if it helps to make it more useable. If you want to draw pictures, bullet points or mind maps then I would suggest this is perfectly acceptable if it is going to help you get the most out of it practically and includes all the essential information needed. Remember your business plan is only going to help you if you know how to use it.